Santander Mulls Over €15 Bn Popular Property-Asset Sale

16 June 2017 – Bloomberg

Banco Santander SA is testing investor appetite for soured loans and repossessed property assets with a face value of as much as €15 billion ($16.8 billion), in a sign that the company is racing ahead with its plan to clean up Banco Popular Espanol SA’s balance sheet, according to three people with knowledge of the situation.

Santander acquired the assets when it bought stricken lender Popular last week, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the matter is private. The Spanish bank is also preparing the sale of commercial property assets valued at as much as €500 million, the people said.

Spain’s biggest lender paid 1 euro for Popular in a sale brokered by European regulators after it suffered a run on deposits. Santander said it would raise €7 billion in capital to shore up Popular’s balance sheet and embark on a rapid sale of its property. Popular has €29.8 billion of property assets and soured real estate loans, according to a presentation on Santander’s website.

Real estate assets that may be sold include Popular’s new headquarters and the Beatriz building in Madrid, whose tenants include KKR & Co., the people said. Also on the block are 1,000 rented homes, plots of land and offices in Madrid and Barcelona, two of the people said.

Santander Chairman Ana Botin told Bloomberg TV last week that her plan to turn around Popular includes the goal of selling at least half of Popular’s real estate assets in the next 18 months. Popular’s troubles reached a crisis point as doubts about the scale of its real estate losses scared away would-be buyers and its plunging share price made raising capital impossible.

The proposed sales are separate from a process Popular had in place before it was taken over to divest a €480 million batch of non-performing loans backed by 16 hotels across Spain, the three people said. The deadline for bids for those loans was June 9.

Original story: Bloomberg (by Sharon R Smyth and Estebán Duarte)

Edited by: Carmel Drake

Bain Capital Sells Bancaja Habitat’s Former HQ

14 March 2017 – Expansión

Activity is continuing in the Valencian real estate market, although this time, the deal is more symbolic than significant. The headquarters of what used to be the largest real estate company and landowner in the Community of Valencia, Bancaja Hábitat, has a new owner. The US investment fund Bain Capital has sold the property located on Paseo de Alameda 7 in Valencia, which had been the operational headquarters of the former real estate subsidiary of the former savings bank.

Bain Capital took control of the commercial property, which has a surface area of 1,870 m2 spread over two floors, as part of a large batch of assets and debt that it acquired from Bankia in 2016. In turn, Altamira Asset Management had been entrusted to manage the property.

According to comments made by the real estate consultancy Inmoking, which participated in the operation as the marketer of the premises, the building has now been purchased by a Valencian investment group, whose identity has not been revealed. The new owner plans to look for a tenant for the premises, which are currently closed.

Catering and gastronomic businesses have proliferated in this area of La Alameda in recent years, which had been dominated by office buildings before the crisis. One example includes the recent opening of a Ginos restaurant by the Vips chain, on the ground floor of the La Pagoda building.

Original story: Expansión

Translation: Carmel Drake

Axiare Invests €173M In RE Assets In Madrid & Cataluña

11 August 2015 – Expansión

The Socimi Axiare has purchased eight real estate assets in Madrid and Cataluña for €173 million. That quantity represents 45% of the proceeds the company obtained from its recent capital increase.

Specifically, the company has purchased two office buildings in Madrid (one on Calle Ramírez de Arellano, 15 and the other on Calle Don Ramón de la Cruz, 82), a retail store located in the Velazquez building (central Madrid), a portfolio of four buildings also located in the capital, comprising three office buildings and a larger retail outlet, and two logistics warehouses in the Les Puntes industrial estate, in Constantí (Cataluña).

Axiare has invested €761 million in total in just one year. With this transaction, the Socimi adds 108,654 m2 of surface area to its portfolio and increases its gross leasable area to more than 550,000 m2.

Capital increase

The transaction announced yesterday involves the investment of 45% of the funds the Socimi obtained from its recent €395 million capital increase, in June, which was fully subscribed. The company doubled in size as a result of that increase.

Axiare has said that it plans to invest the remaining funds “in new acquisitions with the aim of continuing to increase its portfolio of high quality properties in established locations”.

Since its debut on the stock exchange, the Socimi has closed 18 transactions, acquiring 28 properties in total, with an investment value of €761 million.

Original story: Expansión

Translation: Carmel Drake

Blackstone To Buy €790M Of Property Loans From CaixaBank

22 July 2015 – Bloomberg

Blackstone Group LP is buying a portfolio of bad loans with a nominal value of €790 million ($858 million) from Spanish lender CaixaBank SA, according to two people with knowledge of the matter.

The debt is linked to newly completed residential units as well as land and homes under development, according to the people, who asked not to be identified because the deal is not yet complete. The sale of the portfolio, known as Tourmalet, is expected to close at the end of the week, the people said.

Spanish banks are seeking to sell off bad real estate debt that has weighed on their balance sheets since the financial crisis sparked a property crash. Lenders foreclosed on more than 70,000 homes in 2014 with Andalusia, Cataluña and Valencia hit the hardest, according to data from the National Statistics Institute.

The assets backing the CaixaBank debt comprise 88% residential property, 9% land and 3% commercial property, according to a sales document obtained by Bloomberg News. The assets are mainly based in Andalusia, Madrid, Castilla La Mancha and Cataluña, according to the document.

Blackstone, which is run by billionaire Stephen Schwarzman (pictured above) has become the largest private equity real estate investor.

Spokesmen for Blackstone and CaixaBank declined to comment on the deal.

Original story: Bloomberg (by Sharon R Smyth)

Edited by: Carmel Drake

Calle Serrano: The Most Expensive Street In Spain

4 March 2015 – Cinco Días

Tenants now pay rents of €32 per square metre on the exclusive Madrileñian shopping street

The most expensive rents in Spain are paid on Calle Serrano in Madrid (€32 per square metre), followed by the Paseo de Gracia in Barcelona (€29 per square metre).

According to a study conducted by TecniTasa, after these iconic streets in Madrid and Barcelona, the next most expensive rents in Spain are paid in Pamplona, where tenants are charged more than €25 per square metre.

Rental costs in Santander, Marbella and Cádiz now exceed €17 per square metre, and so these cities replace La Coruña, San Sebastián and Bilbao in the list of most expensive rental prices.

By contrast, the report indicates that the lowest rents are paid in the cities of Castellón, Elche, Huelva, Almería, Granada and Torrent, in Valencia, where the cost per square metre amounts to less than €2 per month.

The study concludes that house rental prices are continuing their downward trend in Spain, however these decreases are more significant in the more expensive areas, whilst the prices in the cheapest neighbourhoods are showing slight increases in some cities.

Rental housing on one of the iconic streets of cities such as Madrid, Barcelona, Pamplona, La Coruña, San Sebastián and Bilbao costs more than €2,000 per month.

This data contrasts with the values charged in the cheapest neighbourhoods of Alicante, Elche, Almería, Castellón, Granada, Huelva and Torrent, where it is still possible to rent a home for less than €200 per month.

Original story: Cinco Días

Translation: Carmel Drake